Starting your car
Here are some everyday precautions to help you stay away from starting problems:
• Have your engine tuned up in the fall. If you are not using all-season oil, switch to winter weight. Check your lights to see that they are all in good working order. Check the brakes.
• Check battery and voltage regulator. Make sure battery connections are in good shape.
• Clean battery terminal posts if necessary with baking soda and water. Let mixture foam, and then rinse with water. Place a thin film of petroleum jelly on the terminal posts to ward off corrosion, and then reconnect.
• Check all fluid levels. Make sure you have sufficient antifreeze to prevent freezing that is fresh enough to prevent rust.
• Check that wiper blades are cleaning properly.
• Idling a cold vehicle's engine for a long time to warm it up can harm the engine. The proper way to warm up a vehicle's engine is to drive it.
Equipment and supplies to have with you for an emergency
Here's what you'll want to have with you in case of an emergency:
• A snow shovel.
• Scraper, which has a brush on one end.
• A tow chain.
• Tire chains.
• A flashlight.
• Something to get you out of a ditch or patch of ice like cat litter, sand, or salt.
• A pair of jumper cables.
• Warning devices.
• Blankets, ski caps, mittens.
• First-aid kit.
• A compass.
When driving in winter conditions: Don't think that because you have 4-wheel drive you are therefore safe since at low speeds you may gain additional traction, but in snow and ice at normal driving speeds four wheel drive doesn’t give you that much more traction, nor does it help you to stop more effectively or quickly.
When driving at slow speeds check Check Your Traction. After starting down a road when it is cold out, first check your traction by carefully applying the brakes at low speed. It can happen that under snow conditions you have reasonable traction, but a road that seems to be dry really isn’t because of ice crystals embedded in the pavement.
What to Do When You Lose Control of Your Car
If it happens that you go into a skid, and the back-end of your car starts to slide, simplify the problem. Often a driver will react to a skid by using the brakes and then overcompensating through steering. When you brake you transfer weight to the front wheels taking weight off of the back wheels, which can cause the skid to worsen.
In a situation such as this you should immediately take your foot off of the gas pedal but do not brake. Rather, keep training the steering wheel gradually in the direction that you want the front end to take until you get back control and then proceed at a safer speed.